Beware How These Invasive Plants Travel

By: albertaarb - July 11, 2016

You planted poppies, but your garden is filled with knapweed. Just removing the plant isn't always enough; you'll also want to consider how it got into your garden in the first place. The variety of ways by which an invasive plant species can travel may surprise you. According to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, invasive plant species can spread through vehicles, clothing, animals, grain, and more.


Alberta Agriculture and Forestry states that invasive plants can travel via transportation vehicles, earth-moving machinery, and farm machinery. Cars, trucks, quads, graders, bulldozers, backhoes, tractors, mowers, and harvesters can all help an invasive plant species travel. Invasive thistles spread this way. Seeds can get stuck to tires, treads, wheel wells, and vehicular underbodies. They are also tracked inside vehicles and spread to where the vehicles travel, creating ecologically "disturbed sites that allow invasive plants to establish."

Flora and Fauna

If you're wondering how invasive plants ended up on your property, animals and even other plants could be the culprits! Seed pods with spines can get stuck to animals' fur, or to human clothing, and hitch a ride to a new location. The starthistle's plumed seeds are barbed and can spread this way. Contaminated bits of hay and grain can spread an invasive plant species as well. The Alberta Invasive Species Council warns that wildflower seed packets often contain Dame's rocket, a plant recognized as invasive in Alberta.

The Elements

St. John's Wort doesn't just spread via humans and animals; according to the Alberta Invasive Species Council, it can also find its way into your garden through water, air, or soil (seeds can remain viable in the earth for years). Invasive plants travel in many ways, meaning that it's important to keep track of not only what you're planting, but also what you may be accidentally bringing home with you.

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